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CrazyRN

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Ok, so I am totally new to this whole forum thing, especially in relation to trucks, or anything mechanical, lol. My son (17) has a 1997 Ford Ranger XLT 2.3L, that he's had for a little over a year. Yesterday, he had driven the truck 2 or 3 different times without trouble & later in the day he had went approximately 5 miles when he stopped at a red light. As soon as he attempted to take off at the light the engine died. It cranks (with a very subtle hesitation) & idles perfect & runs fine in reverse, but as soon as it is shifted into gear it immediately dies & the check engine light glows red. A fellow stopped by & tested something in the panel under the steering wheel & said he believes it is the torque converter "switch" & suggested I either find a good transmission mechanic (which I'm told we really don't have locally) or replace the transmission (CHA-CHING$$$!!). After doing some reading, I have found nothing about a 'switch', but rather a clutch, but also read that the solenoid is more likely to go out before the actual torque converter clutch itself. I also ran into some odd & end forums about a few with similar symptoms who had a blown fuse (in engine compartment) or something related to a sensor. I had to have the truck towed home so running it around to have it tested is not really an option. Only real mods are a cold air intake & some kind of fuel chip (?) that were added in January this year with no problems from either thus far. I am a nurse, not a mechanic, but I have previously (& successfully) torn the dash out of this truck & repaired the odometer gear, replaced dash lights, replaced the fuel pump & fuel neck, in addition to cosmetic work (lights, etc.) myself, just from reading online. So, with that being said, this may still be waaaay outta my league, but wanted to see if I could get some opinions to know which way to lean before I get hoo-dood out of a buncha $$ I don't really have. Any ideas??? :icon_confused:
 


straycat

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Just take it to Aamco and have them look at it. You will save time and money this way and not go to the expense of trying to buy parts and then finding out that is not what is wrong with it.
 

triumphrider-1

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This is an automatic transmission?

I'm wondering if it might be something to do with the lock up.
 

killj0y

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Would the tranny even stall the engine?
 

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The AUTOMATIC in my Ranger would cause the engine to stall when put into gear ( because of an electrical short at times--the torque converter solenoid would "lock" prematurely causing the engine to lug immediately & die when shifted into Drive)....

I replaced the bad/overheating solenoid/fried wires/fried connector at transmission.....about $70....solved MY problem....

(unplugging the connector at the transmission might make the truck driveable)
 

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A 97 would be obd2 so, find someone with a scanner and find out what the codes are and that will help to figure out where to go from there. If you post the codes on here I'm sure someone will have some ideas on what you should do next.
 

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Would the tranny even stall the engine?
It can

(unplugging the connector at the transmission might make the truck driveable)
No, it will make the truck mad. He has a 97, that means 4R44E

Unplugging the trans will make just about everything stop working, not just the converter clutch.
A 97 would be obd2 so, find someone with a scanner and find out what the codes are and that will help to figure out where to go from there. If you post the codes on here I'm sure someone will have some ideas on what you should do next.
While you make a good point, it may not have set a code yet,


I do agree that it sounds like the converter clutch is locking up when it shouldn't. I have no idea what Joe Blow was looking at under the dash, sounds like some red neck who 'knows about cars' thought he'd pretend to help. It may be some joker who bought a vehicle that had the lock up solenoid wired to a switch and thought it's supposed to be that way.


You can pull the pan down, check the wiring and look for frays and burns. You can get a new solenoid for about $50 and throw it in, sounds like that is within your capabilities since some of the other things you said you have done are more difficult. If it was my truck I'd take the gamble. Well, no I wouldn't. but that's only because if it was my truck it wouldn't have an auto, but I'd still take the gamble with the solenoid before doing anything else since the part is fairly cheap and the labor seems to be within your skill level.
 

shane96ranger

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Just take it to Aamco and have them look at it.
The Aamco's here charge you about 80 bucks to diagnose your transmission. It could very well be fixed for less than that. There's a Whatever it Takes in Charlotte, NC. I don't know how close you are to them, but they will have it.

Here's their webpage:

https://www.wittrans.com/default.aspx?
 

doorgunner

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{No, it will make the truck mad. He has a 97, that means 4R44E}

OOOOOOOOOOOPS.......I mis-guessed again!
 

CrazyRN

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Thanks so much guys!! It IS an Auto tranny. I'm not even sure what an Aamco is, so its probably a safe assumption that we don't have one here, lol (western NC foothills). Everything I've read supports the solenoid, but then a guy (not sure how reliable he is - a friend recommended him) today told me it "sounds like" the torque converter clutch because the solenoid wouldn't allow it to be driven in reverse (which contradicts other forums I've read...grrr!). Since it would be a lil tricky (to say the least!) to drive the thing around town in reverse, I'm wondering how I take it to be tested. I know that may sound awfully stupid to those of you who know a thing or two bout this, but can I simply take out the transmission to take IT & have it tested? Also, from reading, it sounds like I need to remove the entire transmission anyhow to replace the solenoid....is that right?? I really appreciate yall's help!
 

CrazyRN

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Only in Drive??

The AUTOMATIC in my Ranger would cause the engine to stall when put into gear ( because of an electrical short at times--the torque converter solenoid would "lock" prematurely causing the engine to lug immediately & die when shifted into Drive)....

I replaced the bad/overheating solenoid/fried wires/fried connector at transmission.....about $70....solved MY problem....

(unplugging the connector at the transmission might make the truck driveable)


Did it stall ONLY in drive?? his will idle in park/neutral & will drive in reverse, but as soon as you shift into Drive, it dies.:sad:
 

shane96ranger

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Thanks so much guys!! It IS an Auto tranny. I'm not even sure what an Aamco is, so its probably a safe assumption that we don't have one here, lol (western NC foothills). Everything I've read supports the solenoid, but then a guy (not sure how reliable he is - a friend recommended him) today told me it "sounds like" the torque converter clutch because the solenoid wouldn't allow it to be driven in reverse (which contradicts other forums I've read...grrr!). Since it would be a lil tricky (to say the least!) to drive the thing around town in reverse, I'm wondering how I take it to be tested. I know that may sound awfully stupid to those of you who know a thing or two bout this, but can I simply take out the transmission to take IT & have it tested? Also, from reading, it sounds like I need to remove the entire transmission anyhow to replace the solenoid....is that right?? I really appreciate yall's help!
Some shops can test the trans out of the car. They would need a transmission dyno and an electronic controller. The problem you run into here is (I'm actually helping my buddy upgrade his to a Vortec 4.3) the dyno uses it's own torque converter. Being a 97, it may have thrown a code and told you what is wrong. Do you have access to a code reader? In my opinion, towing it or having it towed is much easier than pulling the trans to test it - and then it still might not show up because you've bypassed the most likely culprit.

EDIT: I know this pic is difficult to see it, but the green machine behind my car is a transmission dyno:

 
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Earl43P

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Welcome to The Ranger Station, Crazy.

I would like you to read the info in this link: http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=137972

Scroll to Post 10, which details the TCC solenoid replacement, should that end up being your problem.

It sounds like you have good mechanical abilities, which is admirable. I think this job is within your capabilities WITH the transmission still installed in the truck. Just keep in mind that removing the transmission pan will result in a considerable mess of transmission fluid which you will need to capture and contain, followed by dripping while you are working under there.

When reading that link, remember that all you are doing is replacing the solenoid, not all that other modification unless you decide to "go that route". It is also not EXACTLY your 4R44E, but is similar enough for you to get the idea what is involved. One of the links below may be closer to what your transmission has inside, i just don't know.

http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=140987
http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=164055

Now that you have enough information to make a decision, call around some local shops and get quotes/estimates for the solenoid replacement job. You might be pleasantly surprised at how much a good mechanic will charge you to do this. My neighbor had solenoids replaced on his Chrysler Caravan (completely different animal, I know) and it only cost him $300.
 

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Well if you live in as small of a town as you make it sound driving in reverse to the tranny shop wont be a big deal.
 

CrazyRN

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Thanks a ton!! Shane, gonna try to find somebody with a code reader & see if I can get em to come out & test it (would that tell me its the solenoid for ABSOLUTE sure?). Earl, VERY helpful, in case I end up having to change it...THANKS!! Brownie, kinda small town (Morganton), but still think cruisin around in reverse would be a lil tricky, haha (& is that even legal?? lol). Still at the drawing board. Hoping I can get someone out to test it & tell me for sure & next hopin that it is simply the solenoid & that I have no issues changing it, as that will be about a $50 fix (plus fluid). I had someone tell me that I should just replace the entire tranny, but really not in a finacial place to do that....& it seems a bit overboard if it is only the solenoid (perhaps that someone is just tryin to dig into my pockets...mechanics can see a female with little mechanical insight a mile away!!)
 

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